war machinery had created an inferno such as no city had had to experience
before in this war."
On September 12, the Polish Government issued a statement (seemingly
dictated by the British Foreign Office) thanking the British Government
for their help, testifying that., during the forty days of the righting in
Warsaw., one hundred tons of supplies., weapons and ammunition had
been delivered, and quoting the number of Allied airmen, including 119
Poles, who had been lost in these attempts.* On that same day, September
12, the Russians began their assault and approached the suburb of Praga
on the right shore of the Vistula, and for two days prior to this action,
their planes, attacking the German Luftwaffe, had appeared over the city.
On September 14, the Russians occupied Praga. A few battalions of the
First Soviet-Polish Division tried to force a crossing over the Vistula, but
this action carried out on a small scale was unsuccessful, and only one
battalion with the help of the insurgents managed to cross the river. On
the same day, the 45th fighting day for the capital, the Russians dropped a
small amount of food and ammunition on the suburbs, the food, a few
sacks containing biscuits, were destroyed by the impact with the ground.
On September 17, the anniversary of the Red Army's invasion of Poland,
a number of Flying Fortresses (8th American Air Force) dropped supplies
on Warsaw containing ammunition and food, and continued on, to land
on Russian airfields. The losses on this trip were negligible. The
supplies delivered were only enough for two or three days. On the same
day a large force of the Home Army who, at an order issued by General
Bor at the beginning of August, had marched to the rescue of Warsaw
but had been unable to reach the city, assembled in the great forests
twenty miles west of Warsaw, and there, after a bitter fight, and without
supplies, were finally encircled and overcome."
The city of Warsaw could have been rescued, had there been any sort
of working agreement between the Allies, either in the form of mass
supplies from the Anglo-Americans or by the Russians in the first days
of August, when nearly the whole of the town had been in the hands of
the insurgents, or even during the last days of its fight, by a Russian push
across the Vistula or by their action from the region of Warka, 30 miles
from Warsaw, where they had established a bridgehead. The battle in
Warsaw raged for sixty-three days, and there had been time enough to
organise and undertake some sort of an action, in order to save the flower
of the Polish nation fighting its desperate struggle alone.
The attitude of the Russians., or rather the extent of their accusations
against the Polish Government and Warsaw, varied during the course of
that sixty-three days. They had feigned surprise at the outbreak of the
rising, and yet Stalin had said to Mikolajczyk " he was expecting to occupy
* Sinclair^ Air Minister 3 on October 4th stated in the House of Commons that
28 planes and 190 airmen had been lost.